Infidelity, alcoholism, flawed pastors and difficult members are just a few of the topics tackled in Don B. Welch’s ‘Walking By Faith.’
The theatrical production, set in the fictional Zion Full of Grace and Mercy Church, reveals the variety of ‘secret’ issues affecting members of the pulpit and the pew, issues that may mirror real life to some.
A one-night showing takes place for Saturday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m., at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood.
“This is not your run-of-the-mill gospel play, meaning that I’m dealing with topics and subjects that people don’t normally talk about in the church, but need to,” said Writer/Director/Producer Welch about his 25th production.
“We are exposing [topics] in a way that you walk away thinking to yourself, ‘I know this person, I know these people, that happened in my church, that happened to my pastor,’ while mixing that with the Gospel of Good News.
“It’s not so much as a feel-good stage play, but there are moments of that and I end it the way I end every production, with the word hope.”
Trae Ireland, who plays the lead role of pastor in a cast of 23 characters, noted, “I think a lot of people will learn things. Because [my character] is the pastor, he has counseled the majority of his congregation, if not all, and he knows their flaws and tells them at one point ‘that because I see everything in you, I know myself. I’ve done more than any of you have.’
“You get to see that the pastor has flaws. Your own pastor might be going through the exact same thing. He’s trying to pray to God to give him the strength that he is trying to give to everybody else.
“So, I need You, God, to empower and enlighten me to set my life straight and align myself with You, so I can really be able to preach your Word and let everyone know to trust in You and give You their time,” said Ireland.
Due to the importance of the role of pastor, Welch said he looked for more than just a good actor, but one who possessed considerable charisma as well.
“I had to make sure that whoever I cast in that role, that people would be attracted because of his message and the way he delivered it, because he’s a character of flaws,” explained Welch.
“The pastor is not just some person who is not above situations that are happening in his or her life. He is actually living a true life outside of the pulpit that many of us are doing and living.
“One of the main things is that you leave [the play] knowing that the pastor is not God. They are men and women. I want you to understand that no matter what happens in your church family, good or bad, it can be corrected with love, empathy, support, and not judgment.
“And, also understand that [the play] is not just about the pastor, it’s about the whole body of the church. We have jack-legged preachers and we have jack-legged members, people who become very Christian-like and religious on Sunday between 11 and 1, but check them out after 1. There are issues sometimes. So, we deal with that, too,” Welch said.
Encouraging the public to attend, Welch also invites the audience to stay for his birthday celebration following the show. For ticket information, call (310) 671 6400 or visit ingletickets.com.